Alignment in Everyday Activities
Cheryl hiking Antelope Canyon in Arizona.
"It doesn't take time it just takes alignment"
While Abraham Hicks may have been talking about the importance of alignment for manifesting our goals, I believe all of life is about alignment! From our energy - to our mindset, our nutrition, and body structure, we feel better and are more effective when we are in alignment! That's the main thing that made me fall in love with CBD, it creates homeostasis which is an alignment of our physiological processes!
We are very blessed to have Cheryl Phyle graciously agree to write a guest blog for us. Cheryl has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and offers personal health and wellness services from one-on-one health coaching and physical therapy to fitness training through her business Phyle Fitness. Follow her on Facebook for tons of fitness and nutrition tips!
-Heidi Tungesvick, 406 CBD
We hear a lot about posture being important, but do we understand how our posture influences our overall health? Our posture affects our blood flow, the shape of our lungs and thus our breath mechanics, the functioning of our nerves and blood vessels, how the muscles and joints function, and it impacts digestion and our mood.
Proper posture places our joints and muscles in optimal alignment while also decreasing the wear and tear of our joints and the surrounding structures. Let's break it down into a few functional activities to help us put good posture to use in our daily lives.
1. Sitting on the "Throne"
Nearly 42 million Americans suffer from chronic constipation, and we likely all will at some point in
our lives. It can be so uncomfortable and cause a lot of health issues but can be at least in part eased with a few adjustments to our posture while sitting on the throne.
Sitting keeps the kink in the lower bowels, requiring more effort to have a bowel movement.
In other words, when we squat, it puts our body in a better position to have a proper poop.
Sit with your knees above your hips and legs wide apart. Research shows a 35-degree angle is the most optimal angle for our bodies to excrete waste most efficiently. You can invest in a squatty potty or just use a stool. You could even use a box or even the wastebasket! Lean forward and place your elbows on your thighs, keeping your back straight. Remember to breathe, relax, and don't strain. If you need to groan or sing it out, that can be helpful at relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, so more power to you!
2. Bending Over
If you are a caregiver to a little one, then you know that it seems like some days we are constantly bending over to pick them up: off the floor, in and out of bed, in and out of the car seat, in and out of the bath. Even if you do not have little kids, we are always bending over to put on our shoes, pick laundry off the floor, and feed our pets. The point is that we are always bending forward, also known as spinal flexion, in this crazy busy life. The highest level of compression in the lower spine occurs when we bend forward, holding a weight in seated. If we are not practicing safe habits regarding these repetitive motions, we place our back, neck, and hips at risk of injury. Care must be taken to be mindful of how we position our body when we scoop up an infant or small child off the ground, pick up garbage off the floor, or even start the bath.
In order to avoid placing our back at risk of injury, we need to brace our abdominals, specifically our Transverse Abdominis (TA), which is the deepest abdominal muscle. It wraps around our midsection like a corset to provide protection and stability to our core, spine, and pelvis. Proper engagement of this muscle is essential to prevent excessive wear and tear on our ligaments and joints, prevent and reduce low back pain, and maximize the efficiency of our breath, balance, and overall mobility.
To perform the contraction, lay on your back with one hand on your lower abdominals, the other hand placed under the small of your back. Exhale and engage the muscle under the hand on your belly, drawing your pelvic bones toward each other, gently pressing your back into the floor. If you have a hard time finding the contraction, exhale with a forceful "shhhh," and you will feel this muscle fire. Try to keep that engagement in your low belly on the inhale and use each exhale to enhance or reestablish the engagement. To ensure you are isolating this muscle and not substituting it with other muscles, avoid tilting your pelvis posteriorly, bulging your abdomen, or holding your breath. This is the contraction you should maintain during functional bending or lifting activities to protect and move your body most efficiently and effectively.
3. Carrying in Grocery Bags
While more Americans may be shopping online with the pandemic, a majority of us still shop in stores every once and a while. Does anyone else love grocery shopping too? Don't get me wrong, it can be a love-hate kinda thing too, but picking out what food I get to fuel my body with for the week excites me!
Does anyone else try to be Superman and carry all the bags in at once too? It can be a really great challenge, and of course, I can't carry everything in every single time, but I do my best. And isn't that what life is all about? When we give our full effort, we can be happier and will be more focused on what we want out of our lives and driven to achieve our dreams.
Here are a few tips to help keep our spine in proper alignment during those Olympic grocery hauls:
Engage your core (TA contraction above) and exhale as you lift up the heavy bags.
Continue to keep your core engaged and continue to breathe the entire time you are carrying heavy objects such as a milk carton.
Keep heavy items close to your body, especially when twisting your spine, which will help protect your back (i.e., going to set them down).
As you can see, our posture has the ability to affect every facet of our life. From influencing our pain to the function of our bodily systems, to even our mood, our posture can have a wide influence on all parts of our life. Start to be a little more mindful of what positions you put and keep your body in. Your body and mind will thank you.
Hi, I am Cheryl Phyle, PT, DPT. I created Phyle Fitness to connect women who are striving to become their healthiest selves. I am also a Physical Therapist and Rehab Director at a facility in Southern Minnesota. Teaching yoga and fitness classes are also something I enjoy doing in my spare time. I love adventures outdoors with my family, health & fitness, and really anything that involves movement! I love helping others move safely and freely, enabling them to achieve a higher level of success and joy in their lives.
Align your health with organic, Montana grown CBD here: https://www.406cbd.com/online-store